Operator vs. Competitor Gun Reliability

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“At our monthly pistol match last weekend, our courageous (and now unpopular) match director included an optional thirty-round course of fire, exclusively for legitimate concealed-carry pistols. The only requirement was that the gun, and ammunition, used had to be one that the participant carries regularly. He said, ‘Let’s use what you’re carrying, right now, what you would have to rely upon to save your life… right now!’ No ‘match-guns,’ nor ‘race-guns’ were allowed.

Of the ten who participated, only three ‘carry’ guns functioned normally through thirty rounds!

The rest (all semi-autos) malfunctioned continuously, including light hits, mis-feeds, and failure to go fully into battery. These guns had all been carried in a pocket or concealed holster and were all dirty, full of lint and other debris. Some magazine springs were weak.

It was an eye-opener, especially for those whose guns would not function. To a person, they all piously swore, amid their embarrassment, that they cleaned their guns regularly, but that was obvious a self-serving lie. It was also obvious these guns were seldom, if ever, actually fired before that afternoon.”

http://defense-training.com/dti/readiness/
http://defense-training.com/dti/more-on-pistol-matches/

Let’s pretend this little episode actually occurred as stated and implied.

  • Potential win for all involved. We learned something when the only thing at stake was a score. Good thing to test and find out before it causes actual problems. A good shooter making a mistake at a match can take it as a learning point and fix it.
  • There’s a skill difference between competitors and participants. I’ve met plenty of D-class USPSA participants that have been attending matches for over a decade. No mention of the event specifics or attendees so no way to know.
  • It’s foolish to think this problem is somehow isolated to people at matches. Has he never been on a military or police range? Or ranges with people that never attend matches? How many stoppages occur at “operator” classes? Here are some examples of students at Gunsite posted by Gunsite on their Facebook page:

Tactical class malfunction 1:

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153547963679453

Tactical class malfunction 2:

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153935592494453/

Tactical class malfunction 3:

New electronic target systems at Gunsite.

A post shared by Gunsite Academy (@gunsiteacademy) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLCAnMjD0mI/

But this claim mostly reeks of typical unsubstantiated “games’ll getcha killed” nonsense. This unicorn event that apparently didn’t have a physical location, date, name, or affiliation will appease those that have never attended an actual match into continuing the delusion that such events are “bad.”

>> Most had never been fired, even once, until that day!To be sure, all ten pistols were badly neglected and dirty

Both claims are made in different places between these posts. So we’re to believe brand new, never-fired pistols have magically become so dirty, fouled, and spring-weakened as to cause stoppages.

We’re also to believe shooters serious enough to regularly attend an organized, scored, no-alibi shooting discipline are unaware of the need to check if their equipment is reliable. And that said shooters would have guns for regular carry readily available but never bother to shoot them ever. Because we all know how competitive shooters hate to shoot. Especially when these regular match shooters intend to participate in a scored side match with said gun.

>> My carry guns, pistols and rifles, are all designed and built for serious purposes. Few ‘modifications.’ Most are ‘out-of-the-box.’ I wouldn’t win a typical pistol match with any of them!

Service Conditions matches require as-issue gear. NO modifications are allowed, not even the ‘few’ this fellow uses. Nearly every discipline has a stock or production category available that stipulates using exactly what this fellow uses. There is not that big of gulf when comparing open match guns to production guns as this fellow ignorantly implies. Here are the numbers:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/2012/06/10/race-guns-vs-regular-guns/

Stock or production-legal guns are carry-appropriate and effectively identical to what’s advocated here. He wouldn’t win a typical pistol match with any of them because he lacks the fundamental skill to do so.

Oh, and here’s what a skilled competitive shooter can actually do with a sub-compact .380 from concealment.

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High Power with Issue Rifles

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How much of a difference does match grade equipment make compared to standard, rack grade, issue rifles and ammunition? National champion CPT Freeman of the USAR Service Rifle Team shares his experience in competing with both.

By actual test, the difference in score between a top end match grade rifle with highly refined sights and trigger, ammunition, and shooting accessories (padded shooting coat, sling, glove, etc.) is less than 15%, even with a beat up, bottom-edge issue rack-grade rifle and ammunition with no refinements and no shooting accessories. It will likely be even less in most cases.

BLUF: Scores are earned by skill. Even the best match grade equipment can only account for the last few percentage points in the score.

The same holds true with handguns and practical shooting.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/race-guns-vs-regular-guns/

Qualification and Skill

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People outside the competition world often fail to understand the sort of skill levels possible. Routine qualification is the most vestigial level of basic understanding. Police and military qualification is the equivalent of a simple arithmetic quiz considered easy by elementary school children. It’s a perfectly acceptable level for a student actually in elementary school and basic/recruit/Academy training because we’re working with a brand-new novice. It is no longer acceptable years later because the student should have progressed.

I discuss this at length in my book Beyond Expert: Tripling Military Shooting Skills using U.S. Army qualification standards as compared to NATO combat competition courses. In it I show that anyone interested in competition shooting needs to at least triple military qualification “expert” (or even “perfect”) standards as a starting point. For handgun events, this can be increased by a factor of five or more. Shooters consistently winning need to be better still.
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Competition Shooting FTW

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Ever hear the term “rooney gun”? Ya know, competition-only firearms and gear that could never be useful real world? Here’s why that concept is BS.

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Ken Hackathorn’s Selective Memory

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I’m not sure if Ken Hackathorn is choosing selective memory or just waxing nostalgic. In his interview with Recoil magazine he lambasts organized competitive shooting. There are no concrete examples, just the usual suspects of empty, unsubstantiated claims. Details here:
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Race Guns vs. “Regular” Guns

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Unskilled shooters sometimes negatively comment on equipment used in competition and how it gives competitors an unfair advantage. Rather than listen to unsubstantiated complaints, let’s analyze actual numbers.

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